U.S. Marriage Rate Dropped to 50-Year Low in 2020
By Zachary Evans, National Review, May 17, 2022
The number of marriages in the U.S. in 2020 was the lowest recorded in over half a century, according to data released Tuesday by the National Center for Health Statistics.
The U.S. saw 1,676,911 marriages in 2020, a drop of 16.8 percent from the 2,015,603 recorded in 2019. The number of marriages was the lowest since 1963, when about 1,654,000 marriages were recorded by the NCHS, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The decline follows the onset of the Covid pandemic, which caused mass business and school closures in March 2020, and led people around the world to shun interpersonal contact in order to prevent spread of the illness.
The NCHS noted in a blog post that just four states—Alabama, Montana, Texas, and Utah—saw increases in marriage rates, or number of marriages per 1,000 Americans, in 2020. Montana experienced the highest growth in marriages in 2020, with a marriage rate of 10.4 that year compared with 7.9 in 2019.
Meanwhile, 46 states and in Washington, D.C. saw declines in marriage rates. Hawaii saw the largest decline in marriage rate, dropping from 14.2-per-1,000 residents in 2019 to 7.4 in 2020. During the same period, California’s marriage rate declined from 5.7 to 3.2 and New York’s marriage rate dropped from 7.2 to 4.5.
The year 2020 also saw the lowest total fertility rate, or number of babies a woman is projected to have over the course of her life, since record-keeping began in the 1930s, CDC data released in March 2021 showed. According to U.S. Census data released in December 2021, the U.S. population grew at the lowest rate since the founding of the nation from July 2020 through July 2021, in the middle of the pandemic.